(One) Dance Of The Seven Veils
Almost nine years. That's how long it has been since any record has spent as long as seven straight weeks at the top of the Official UK Singles chart. Yes OK, Uptown Funk did manage a seven week spell at the top at the end of 2014 and the start of 2015 but as any pop fan will tell you this was made up of two separate Number One runs. The longest consecutive spell it managed was a mere 6.
This week One Dance by Drake (and no forgetting co-credited performers Wizkid and Kyla) spends its seventh straight week at Number One, officially now the longest-running Number One single since Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis also managed the lucky seven at the tail end of 2007. The sustained success of the single has caused more than few people to scratch their heads in puzzlement as to just why it has managed such a strangehold over singles charts across the developed world. Yes it is a good record by a phenomenally popular act, for sure, but it by no means leaps out of the speakers as a classic. One Dance is in short the most unmemorable seven week Number One single well, ever.
The answer might lie in the fact that it is so utterly unobjectionable, something which will benefit singles more and more in our brave new online future. The single has naturally found its way onto the numerous label- and -service-curated "hot hits of day best of the moment" playlists, without which it is currently near impossible to generate the kinds of streaming volumes required for sustained chart success. But it is one thing to end up on a playlist, another to get people to actually listen to the track in question given that every listener is capable of a "shit, click" reaction to a song they don't much care for. To register a 'play' for the charts you need to have made it to people's ears longer than 30 seconds. The Drake single continues to achieve that in large numbers. Put simply managed the fascinating feat of being unskippable even if it isn't particularly loved.
A quick look at the underlying figures though shows that once again One Dance actually has no business being anywhere near the top of the charts, at least by past methods of gauging success. 6.68m plays of the single last week accounts for 66,800 of its reported total sale of 92,500. That leaves just 25,700 sales accounted for by purchases. At retail this track peaked several weeks ago. Online however it remains for the moment apparently unassailable.
Can't Stop This Feeling Of Being Cheated
Contrast that with the record which for the moment is stuck with a sense of unfulfilled destiny. Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop The Feeling was once again the most purchased single of the week by some considerable margin and yet for whatever reason its streams remain just that small step behind where they need to be to make that advantage count. The song is the Get Lucky of 2016, a contemporary hit that is retro enough to enjoy crossover airplay on just about every commercial radio brand going. In any other plane of existence it would be settled in for its own extended run at the top of the charts by now. For the moment however it just requires patience.
Timberlake and Drake preside over what is once again a totally becalmed Top 10. Six of the 10 hold their positions from last week and the remaining four swap places with each other, mostly to the benefit of Drake's other hit of the moment Too Good which with Rihanna in tow jumps two places to a new peak of Number 8.
The 7 Years I Used To Know
The highest climber of the week and indeed the track that is rapidly becoming one of the most talked about upcoming hit singles is I Hate U I Love U from American singer Gnash (a contraction of his real name Garrett Nash). The absorbing single manages to combine both the wistful emotion of Lukas Graham along with the lyrical intrigue of Somebody That I Used To Know, the track borrowing from the Gotye classic the clever device of duelling male and female perspectives. Having spent 2015 releasing material via Soundcloud and building up a worldwide following gnash is now on the verge of true stardom, dragging co-performer Olivia O'Brien to prominence along the way. Having begun its chart run four weeks ago at Number 68, the single had reached Number 33 last week and now explodes into life with a massive 21 place climb. It has momentum on its side, all it needs now is a way past the glass ceiling of the Top 10.
Eat You Like A What Now
Momentum is also on the side of the cheekiest single of the moment. Sex is the debut hit single from Los Angeles-based electronic trio Cheat Codes whose 2015 release Visions propelled them to the attention of people who matter and bought them a support slot with Chainsmokers. The hit record is another blissed out house track featuring vocals from invited singer Kriss Kross Amsterdam and based heavily around the chorus from Salt N' Pepa's 1991 single Let's Talk About Sex. Cheat Codes leap 30-20 and seem set to take their video of hot dogs and muffins into the Top 10 in fairly short order.
When You Dream Of A Dream
The theme for the next couple of weeks of new releases I think will be "seriously WTF?" collaborations. The first of these presents us with the highest new entry of the week at Number 21 - Cry by Sigma featuring Take That. Yes, you read that correctly. Having landed hit records in the past two years with the likes of Paloma Faith, Labrinth, Ella Henderson and Rita Ora, Edwards & Lenzie land possibly their biggest scalp yet as Take That supply the vocals on the first brand new Sigma track since the release of their debut album Life at the end of last year. Fast approaching the tenth anniversary of their sensational comeback you get the feeling Take That needed another shot in the arm and what better way to achieve an injection of credibility than to perform with Britain's leading drum n' bass duo. Sigma's knack for crafting some epic dance/pop crossovers combined with Gary Barlow's sometimes erratic songwriting mojo makes for a surprisingly exciting hit record. Let's hope it progresses from here.
Also new in the Top 40 this week, This Girl from Kungs vs Cookin' On 3 Burners at Number 29, One More Time from the still evergreen Craig David and, making a return, my favourite lost hit of the moment Just Like Fire by Pink which capitalises on the arrival of the "Alice Through The Looking Glass" movie which it soundtracks and rises 48-36, its first Top 40 appearance since it debuted at Number 32 five weeks ago.
Does Anyone Buy Albums Any More?
Ariana Grande lands her first ever Number One on the Official UK Albums chart this week as Dangerous Woman emerges narrowly victorious in what was a surprisingly ding-dong chart battle. She is far and away the youngest of four acts to have Top 10 new arrivals this week. Former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft is at Number 3 with These People, Bob Dylan is at Number 5 with Fallen Angels and Eric Clapton is at Number 6 with I Still Do. Dylan's record is no less than the 37th studio release of his long and distinguished career, his 65th album chart entry in total and by a strange coincidence his 37th Top 10 album.